Extra Subjects: 5 Things You Need to Know

Banner of Extra Subjects: 5 Things You Need to Know

From Computer Science to Japanese, there are many extra subjects available for Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate students. Doing an extra subject can be a brilliant way to expand your knowledge, meet new people and even get some extra CAO points. In this blog, we go through what you need to know in order to succeed in an extra subject.


Motivation

Unfortunately, you can’t rely on just feeling motivated to do well in an extra subject. By the time the Christmas and Easter tests come around, you’ll be so caught up with all your other subjects that you might start to neglect your extra classes. Hence, you need to have a solid reason why you want to do an extra subject, beyond just ‘feeling like it’ in September.

Here are some good reasons why you’d want to do an extra subject:

  • You're lacking some university course requirements, such as a language or a science subject. 
  • Your native language not English and is an examinable subject.
  • You need a boost in CAO points or need an extra higher-level subject
  • You are genuinely interested in the subject; you are excited to learn more about it.

Here are some questionable reasons why you’d want to do an extra subject:

  • It’s a ‘doss’ subject. (This is never true, all subjects require time and effort to succeed!) 
  • Just because my friend is doing it. (Don’t rely on this to motivate you, your friend can easily drop out!)
  • I’ve a lot of free time right now. (Trust me, this won’t be the case towards exam season!)

There is nothing worse than dedicating so much time to a subject only to drop out at the last minute. After all, you could have spent that extra subject time improving in your other subjects instead. In my experience doing extra subjects, I’ve noticed that the closer the exams were, the emptier my classes became. However, if you go into an extra subject knowing exactly why you’re there, you’re more likely to stick with it even when things get tough.


Commitment

In most cases, extra subjects only require one long class per week, such as a few hours after school or during the weekend. This might sound great at first, however missing one of your weekly classes is like missing an entire week of school in one subject. Hence, attending every class is crucial to do well, and especially so if your subject involves a project.

Although it’s not ideal, if you really need to miss a class then make sure to let your subject teacher know as soon as possible. This way they might be able to give you work in advance so that you won’t fall behind in your class. Similarly, if you feel like dropping your extra class because things are getting too overwhelming, make sure to communicate how you’re feeling to your teacher. After all, if you don’t ask for support, you’re less likely to get it.


Organisation

I won’t lie by saying that I’ve never stayed up late on a Friday night trying to finish my homework in time for my Saturday morning class. Afterall, it’s only natural that some weeks are busier than others. However, if you find yourself constantly doing your work at the last minute then you should reconsider your organisation methods.

Here are a few things that helped me to keep on top of my work:

  • Doing my homework as soon as I got it. This meant that regardless of how busy my week got, I had at least the minimum already done and dusted. (This made Friday nights a lot less stressful!)
  • Incorporating my extra subject into my school timetable. Every Wednesday my classes would end at 1pm, so I took this opportunity to schedule extra subject studying from 1pm to 3pm. Having a set time every week to study really helped me keep on top of my revision.
  • Writing out a specific checklist of what I need to get done during the week. Rather than telling myself I’ll do 1 hour of vague extra subject study, I split that time into specific tasks. This always ensured that I did my extra work, as I had a set checklist to get through.

Friendship

Although it might sound odd, making friends in your extra classes can really help to improve your grades. For example, if you can’t attend a class then you can message your friend to get the notes and homework you’ve missed. Alternatively, if the content you are studying is particularly hard then organising a ‘study date’ with your friends in that subject will be beneficial to you all.


Resources

If you don’t see your extra subject teacher often, then you might have less opportunities to ask questions. Additionally, sometimes you might not feel like doing your extra work. Hence, it is important to take the initiative of equipping yourself with extra resources in your extra subject.

Here are some resources that be beneficial for you:

  • Your Subject Syllabus. Every Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate subject has a set curriculum that details exactly what you can be tested on in your exams. If you’re unsure about what you need to know, take look at your subject syllabus, which can be found on the curriculumonline.ie website.
  • Flashcards. Using flashcards for learning vocabulary and definitions is an effective and convenient way to study. Even if you don’t feel like studying, taking 10 minutes to look over some flashcards is better than not doing any work at all. Even the process of making flashcards is an effective study method!

By the way, if you don’t feel like making yourself yourself then you can just download some from the Studyclix website! Click here for our Junior Cycle flashcards and click here for our Leaving Certificate ones.

  • YouTube Videos. Although most of you will already know this, YouTube is an amazing resource to find general video tutorials in almost any subject. Just be careful not to get distracted while you’re there!
  • Discussion forums. If you have a question that is a bit too specific for YouTube, try asking the Studyclix discussion forum. Alternatively, you can try regular forum websites such as Reddit. (I found the language subreddits to be particularly helpful!
  • Finally, Studyclix is a brilliant resource to use if your extra subject is offered on our site. We’ve already mentioned the Studyclix Flashcards and Discussion forums, but we also offer many more resources such as Quizzes, Subject Guides and Sample Answers.

In summary, studying for an extra subject should never be limited to just reading through your textbook. By being efficient with the resources available in your extra subject, you are ensuring that you’re remembering as much as you can in the least amount of time.


Bonus

If you still have some questions, such as where to find extra subject classes or what languages can be taken as extra subjects, then check out this blog post where we answer the 5 most common questions about taking on an extra subject.

Best of luck with the study!


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